Coulter's "High Road"
Thank Ha-Shem someone has finally written a book that lifts the discourse of our current political debate to a higher level. Ann Coulter's "Slander: Liberal Lies about the American Right" decries the policy-wonk, cable TV, name-calling inanity that is so in vogue these days. To wit:
"The 'you're stupid' riposte is part of the larger liberal tactic of refusing to engage ideas ... Your refusal to submit to name-calling means you were overwhelmed by the force of their argument that you are a penis-head." (p. 121)
"They [liberals] are painfully self-righteous, they have fantastic hatreds, and they could not see the other fellow's position if you prodded them with white-hot pokers." (p. 26)
And then, perhaps to prove that she doesn't need white-hot pokers to see the other fellow's side:
"Liberals have been wrong about everything in the last half-century." (p. 197)
You know, until I read Slander I had always assumed that Coulter was just a loud-mouthed, right-wing freak without a subtle bone in her gangly body.
Clearly I was wrong. This kind of refined language and lack of embellishment is truly a testament to the conservatives' discursive high road, penis-heads and all.
Coulter calmly imparts such wisdoms as Michael Moore is a "college dropout and working-class phony'; Gloria Steinem is a "deeply ridiculous figure" and feminism has produced nothing but "sluts"; Christie Todd Whitman is a "birdbrain"; "Most politicians would rather face down the Viet Cong than be ridiculed by Katie Couric" who is described as the "affable Eva Braun of morning TV"; Hillary Clinton is "particularly grating" for her "Valley Girl penchant for saying 'real' when she means 'really'" (that is real grating, ain't it?); Al Gore is both an intellectual "mediocrity" and a "little Miss-Know-It-All"; Adlai Stevenson was a "boob" and a "bilious blowhard"; and Jesse Ventura is a "loud-mouthed anti-Christian bigot."
I would like to thank Coulter for finally leaving those vacuous name-calling days behind to create an honest and cerebral debate about the issues. It is refreshing to finally have a frank and open discussion about these ideological impasses.
Since Coulter is so open to various viewpoints, I am certain she would appreciate my response to her assertion that the liberal media is in the business of spreading lies. For example, Coulter claims that a cherished liberal lie is that Santa's house is melting. In order to rise to the level of dialogue that Coulter has started here, I am going to have to tell you the uncomfortable truth: Santa's home is indeed melting.
I am sorry it has come to this, but global warming is a liberal strategy to eliminate Christmas, thereby alienating the Christian right (which, of course, doesn't really exist anyway, except as a cautionary tale that liberals tell their children at night) and securing the Jewish vote once again.
What could be more impressive than melting down Santa's house and declaring Chanukah a national holiday for all Americans? Besides, it has been long suspected that the elves are really Santa's slaves, and liberals see human rights abuses abounding in the far right's sacred Christmas dungeons. Instead of hiding behind global warming, let's just own it: Santa must die.
Coulter also is on to the most cherished liberal secret of all: She asks why liberals must persist in believing that Bill Clinton -- the "adulterous felon"-- is Elvis Presley. Well, isn't he? Why is Coulter so sure this is a lie? Have you ever seen Elvis and Clinton in the same room together? I mean, come on, look at the evidence: Both eat extraordinarily odd (and often Southern) foods; both love young, young women; and both have enormous charisma and sexual magnetism (and I think I speak for all women here when I say that I can't think of anything more alluring than Elvis eating banana-fried peanut butter and bacon sandwiches or Clinton eating a Big Mac in his jogging shorts. Sexy!).
Isn't it possible that Elvis reinvented himself as the man from Hope? And for that matter, has anyone ever seen Priscilla and Hillary in the same room?
"They [liberals] will look you in the eye, every four years for their entire insipid lives, and insist that the Republican de jour is 'stupid,'" writes Coulter, adding, "(Cher on Bush: 'He's stupid.')" I am not sure what is scarier here: that Coulter is aware that our left-wing lives are insipid or that she somehow found out that Cher is one of our top policy strategists.
I, for one, would trade my insipid life for Coulter's life, which seems so serene and well reasoned. Oh, by the power of Cher, what I would give for such balance and mental sanctuary.
Coulter even cites unimpeachable examples of the insipid lives of liberals. When wealthy Democrats say they don't need a tax cut and are willing to pay their share, Coulter understands that this is just "pure braggadocio." "'I want to pay more taxes' is a way of saying that, no matter how much the government takes, they will still have enough money to keep drinking Dom Perignon and making out in the hot tub," she writes.
Once again, Coulter has got us. I derive no greater pleasure in life than leaving my gold house in my Alfa Romeo (parked under the money tree in front of my sapphire swimming pool next to the oil well) to go hang out with starving Republican CEOs and boast about my dedication to paying my taxes. What I should do is demand a nice, big tax cut. Then perhaps my insipid life would have more meaning.
I have learned many things from Slander (for Coulter is nothing if not didactic): Ronald Reagan was not too old to be president; Al Gore got straight A's in art in high school; The New York Times "used the phrase 'Christian right' approximately eighty billion times" to describe John Ashcroft (and I'm sure that is an exact figure because Coulter does not exaggerate); and Katherine Harris can wear all the damn make-up she wants to.
I also learned that conservatives habitually find themselves selling oodles of books despite a supposed lack of publicity due to liberals' ironclad grip on the media. Indeed, Coulter's book is currently No. 1 on The New York Times' best-seller list.
And so I suppose that with a little grit, pluck and determination a conservative can make a difference in this world, transforming American debate into something high-minded and fair. Finally, Coulter taught me that you don't have to read a whole lot of fancy books in order to write one (especially if you have LexisNexis). And, in that spirit, I learned that you don't have to rack your brain to find ways to write a damning review.
Sacha Zimmerman is an assistant editor at The New Republic.